The oddsmakers favored Washington on its home floor in Game 3 on Friday night. The Wiz took care of business to avoid a 3–0 hole and run it back on Sunday evening looking to even the series.
But the odds look different in Game 4. Same two teams, same place, but this time Toronto is a slight favorite. It’s a strange circumstance but one that makes some sense when you consider the sort of team Washington has been all season.
John Wall has looked healthy and energetic all series. He scored 28 points, despite going 0-for-4 from three-point land, and dished out 14 assists in the Game 3 win. Bradley Beal also bounced back in a big way after his Game 2 dud with 28 points of his own. Mike Scott and Kelly Oubre Jr. put up double-figures off the bench.
Despite the great shooting, Washington wasn’t able to put the game away until midway through the fourth quarter. Toronto hung around because it shot well itself, primarily behind the arc where it sank 12-of-28 three-pointers. DeMar DeRozan led the team with 23 points.
So why the swing in the Game 4 odds after Washington covered easily as a favorite in Game 3? It’s all about context. Washington was desperate and Toronto may have been relaxed some after getting up 2–0 in Canada. With the possibility of giving up the series lead, the Raptors should come out with more moxy in this game.
Then there’s Washington’s inconsistent play all season. The Wizards have shown the ability to beat any team in the NBA when they play well and lose to the worst of the worst when they don’t. Washington’s main problem has been its consistency night to night. Now Toronto has to make an adjustment.
Will Washington anticipate Dwayne Casey’s move? And will it shoot the ball as well as it did on Friday night? It better because I’m not sure its defense is going to be much better than it was in Game 3.
Toronto is going to score; that’s a given. Washington isn’t a good defensive team and it won’t get any better between now and the end of the series. In fact, it will likely only get fatigued as the regulars log heavy minutes while Toronto mixes and matches a deeper rotation.
The Raptors may feel like a bit of a sucker play here because the spread has been adjusted, but there are also reasons behind the move and I’m buying those reasons for the move. Washington hasn’t been consistent all season and once the Raptors make their adjustments, the Wizards won’t keep up. The Raptors get their knockout punch in Game 4.
Free Pick: Toronto -1